This short film shot in Tehran, recounts the adventures of two young street musicians who play the accordion and tablas in order to earn their living. Two young street musicians in Tehran, a boy and a girl, have their accordion confiscated as the result of an incident while playing next to a mosque.
âThe Accordion is the story of humankindâs materialistic need to survive in a pretentious religion. In it, a boy is prevented from playing for reasons of religious prohibition, which he accepts in order to survive. But the main character of the film is the girl or, perhaps, in my view, the symbol of the next generation. In her ideal world she realizes manâs need for survival and decides to avoid the violence and share her small income with someone else who is also in need.â -- Jafar Panahi
Segment of the film project "THEN AND NOW Beyond Borders and Differences" produced by ART for The World in 2010 and based on the article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion".
"I'm a director who pays attention to social aspects and what's happening around me ... 'The Accordion' shows my feelings about what's happening and how I see reality," -- Jafar Panahi
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Two children eke out their living on the streets of Tehran by playing their accordion. Passersby generously offer them coins, till the instrument is forcibly taken away by a man, who finds the children, a brother and sister, guilty of having played music just outside a mosque. The boy pleads to be forgiven, saying he just did not realise that he was outside a mosque. The children cry out in desperation; they need the money to buy medicines for their sick mother at home. But the man remains unmoved and disappears with the accordion into the cityâs labyrinth of lanes.
A little later, the children spot the man sitting in a square playing the instrument. The boy gets hold of a stone, ready to hit him with it. The girl asks the brother not to do so. And as the children inch towards the man, he continues playing music and ultimately returns the accordion without any struggle.
Probably, the power of music moved the man to compassion, to a higher state of tolerance. The movie is a powerful metaphor on violence, lenience and, finally, hope. An absolute masterpiece, I would think. And, in nine minutes, Panahi shook us all up with a searing piece of truth. -- Gautaman Bhaskaran
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One of the most celebrated Iranian and international artists compresses his storytelling and reflections in a short film that not only captures Tehran today, but also serves as a metaphor on violence, tolerance and hope. It was, in fact, Jafar Pahaniâs vitality and courage here that sparked our passions most.
However, the director would not have conceived this splendid âshort storyâ were it not for backing from the wonderful utopia that is the omnibus film Then and Now, dedicated to overcoming barriers and differences and produced by Art for the World with support from the United Nations.